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White House encourages US telecommunications to enter Cuban market

28 minutes ago | Posted in: Investor, industry

In a fact sheet released on Wednesday, the White House has outlined some of the ways normalization of relations with Cuba will impact trade and travel. The document covers not only how many cigars Americans can bring home with them from trips to the island nation, but encouraged telecommunications companies to improve the Cuban people's connection to the rest of the world.

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Hands On: Supreme Ruler (Steam for OS X, Windows)

2 hours ago | Posted in: gaming, software

War games may have originated from the need to boost military logistics and planning, but they have since become popular with civilian gamers. Risk and Chess are two popular war games most people are familiar with, as are Civilization and Hearts of Iron. How does newcomer Supreme Ruler Ultimate, by Battlegoat Studios, stack up to the classics?

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Interview fallout continues: actors complain, Team America taken down

2 hours ago | Posted in: security

The fallout from the Sony Pictures hack continues, and is now affecting more than just The Interview. Theaters planning to screen Team America: World Police instead of the James Franco movie have been stopped from doing so, while a number of celebrities have all denounced Sony Pictures' decision to withdraw The Interview from distribution, and the White House comments on the hack investigation

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New USB thumb drive-sized device can take over computers

3 hours ago | Posted in: computers, security, software, hacks

A new USB microcontroller -- roughly the size of a small thumb drive -- has been demonstrated as a proof-of-concept device that leverages a serious and unfixable vulnerability in USB easily take over and install malware on any unlocked computer. Though it requires physical access or tricking the user into inserting the controller into a USB port, the device has worrying implications for any computer left unattended for more than a minute -- the time it takes for the device to gain admin access, change network settings, install a backdoor and remove any obvious sign of intrusion.

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Intel processors rumored to appear in two Lenovo smartphone launches

6 hours ago | Posted in: industry, mobile phones

Intel is rumored to be supplying processors for two Lenovo smartphones set to launch next year. A report Lenovo is aiming to announce two new smartphones in the first quarter, possibly at CES or Mobile World Congress, with Intel providing not only its 64-bit Atom processors for the mobile devices, but also LTE-Advanced cellular radios.

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Apple rejects conclusions of BBC expose showing supply chain abuses

7 hours ago | Posted in: computers, industry, Apple

Ahead of the airing of a Panorama documentary on the subject, the BBC has published a web piece revealing the outcomes of its investigation into Apple's supply chain. The network went undercover and charges that promises to protect the rights of workers were "routinely broken." In particular the BBC found violations of standards for work hours, ID cards, dormitories, meetings, and underage labor at Pegatron factories on the outskirts of Shanghai.

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Jimmy Fallon gives out iPad Air 2 to Tonight Show studio audience

9 hours ago | Posted in: iPad

On Wednesday's episode of the Tonight Show, host Jimmy Fallon gave away an iPad Air 2 to every member of the studio audience. The segment (below) was part of a week-long series of giveaways. It wasn't identified which models people were getting, although NBC may have opted to give people 16GB Wi-Fi versions, given the costs involved. Even at that bottom tier, the tablet costs $499.

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Jawbone delays shipping Up3 fitness tracker until early 2015

9 hours ago | Posted in: gadgets

Jawbone will be missing out on the bump in revenues from holiday sales of its new flagship product entirely, it has been reported. The Up3, launched at the start of November and originally set to ship before the end of the year, will instead be delayed to early next year, thanks to delays caused by a number of manufacturing issues.

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Amazon Prime Now offers one-hour deliveries in Manhattan

10 hours ago | Posted in: industry

After experimenting with same-day deliveries in a number of cities, Amazon is now increasing the speed of delivery for some customers with the launch of Prime Now. The new service, launching in Manhattan today, will let Prime subscribers place orders for thousands of essential items, and receive the delivery on their doorstep in an hour or less.

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UK carriers agree to £5B investment to improve mobile phone networks

13 hours ago | Posted in: industry, mobile phones

A suggestion by the British government has prompted carriers to improve their mobile networks. EE, O2, Vodafone, and Three have all agreed to collectively invest at least £5 billion ($7.8 billion) into a program to improve their mobile networks across the United Kingdom, in order to avoid being forced to implement a proposed "National Roaming" scheme.

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ICANN servers accessed following 'spear phishing' attack

15 hours ago | Posted in: security

The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), the organization which allocates IP addresses and oversees the use of domain names, has been the latest high-profile victim of hacking. The non-profit confirmed its systems were accessed by unauthorized individuals earlier this month, following a "spear phishing" attack in late November.

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Briefly: Colbert Report in Street View, Netflix on Dish Hopper DVR

15 hours ago | Posted in: gadgets, software, Graphics/Web Design

Google has recreated the set of The Colbert Report in Street View, in honor of the show's last episode. The virtual tour of the studio, including around the main desk and interview area, was created by Business View, a service which uses a Google-certified photographer or agency to take photographs at a location before generating the explorable 360-degree images.

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Review: Dell AD211 Bluetooth speaker

20 hours ago | Posted in: audio

For all of the high-priced, over-engineered Bluetooth speakers in the electronics market, there is still room for mass-market solutions. While consumers often compromise in battery life, design or sound, the sub-$100 market offers a wide array of choices. Computer builder Dell entered into the Bluetooth speaker market with a value model, looking to entice consumers with a long battery life and compact, minimal design. But is the Dell AD211 a good buy for consumers looking to get the most out of their money, or does it fail to meet modest expectations? Find out in our review.

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Android Lollipop will get an update in Q1 of 2015

20 hours ago | Posted in: developer, mobile phones

The latest version of Android, 5.0 Lollipop, has been experiencing a bit of a rocky road since its release, with version 5.0.1 already having been pushed out to address some of the issues. Rumors are surfacing that Lollipop 5.1 will be released in early 2015 -- however, some users may not be able to update until July, if ever.

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Microsoft hits 1.5 million total Windows 10 'Insiders'

22 hours ago | Posted in: computers, software

Back in October, Microsoft launched the "Windows 10 Insider program, "where PC experts and IT Pros can get access to a technical preview of Windows 10 for desktops and laptops." As of December 17, 1.5 million users have joined the program, Microsoft has announced. In the December update for the forthcoming OS version, Microsoft's Gabe Aul said roughly 30 percent of Insiders, or 450,000 users, are "highly active" in the program.

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Hands On: SuperSync (OS X, Windows)

Wed December 17, 2014 | Posted in: software, audio

Apple's iTunes media player has been around since 2001 -- meaning that for many users, it's likely that their library has traversed multiple system upgrades, duplicating and splintering across a variety of drives and mobile devices along the way. For this, there is SuperSync, an app designed to provide access to all your music in one location, allow libraries to be accessed via the Internet, and organize multiple music libraries as to stay organized. Aimed at DJs, avid music collectors, and anyone with multiple libraries, SuperSync aims to get all your tracks in a row. Pricing is organized by license packs, starting at $23 for 2 computers. We took a look at SuperSync for ourselves, and took some of its features for a test run.

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Uber announces 'greater investment' in screening, safety standards

Wed December 17, 2014 | Posted in: industry, hacks

In response to the concerns of customers, legal troubles and bans in multiple markets around the world, rideshare/taxi service Uber has begun a study into ways to better screen drivers and improve overall safety. Phillip Cardenas, Uber's head of global safety, outlined the company's plans in a recent blog post today. Cardenas comes from Airbnb where he spearheaded the creation of that company's safety program.

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Sprint facing fines for charging customers for unwanted services

Wed December 17, 2014 | Posted in: iPhone, industry, mobile phones

Mobile phone service provider Sprint could be facing a fine of as high as $105 million or other disciplinary actions from the FCC after a study by the agency concluded that the carrier was willfully participating in a practice called "cramming," in which users are often tricked into signing up for "premium" services (such as ringtones or special messages) from a third-party, which then adds monthly charges to the user's bill. Like AT&T and T-Mobile before it, Sprint has run afoul of authorities for taking a cut of these scams, and thus having an incentive to allow them to continue, despite customer complaints.

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Breaking: US reverses, to say North Korea behind Sony hack tomorrow

Wed December 17, 2014 | Posted in: industry, security

US government officials now believe North Korea is, in fact, behind the attack of Sony Pictures Entertainment's computer system and subsequent data leaks, according to reports. The government is also said to be preparing to make an official statement about its findings, which may arrive as soon as tomorrow, though apparently there is still some internal debate as to what kind of response to make to the insular country. Previously, the FBI had said it had "no evidence" of a direct North Korean connection, though the country was suspected from the outset.

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Jobs' deposition in Apple-Real trial to remain private

Wed December 17, 2014 | Posted in: software, Apple

As a postscript to Apple's unanimous win in a lawsuit brought by audio software company Real, Judge Yvonne Gonzales Rogers on Wednesday turned down media requests to make public a videotaped deposition from Steve Jobs, in one of his final filmed appearances, that was presented during the trial. Jobs, who was quite ill at the time and just months from his resignation from Apple and later death, was videotaped answering questions about the case. Yesterday, a jury exonerated the iPhone maker from charges it had conspired to lock out competitors.

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New Windows ransomware strain replicates like a virus

Wed December 17, 2014 | Posted in: computers, security, troubleshooting

Earlier this month the official blog of security firm KnowBe4 revealed information about a new strain of Ransomware. On top of the usual encryption of files on a computer and demanding payment in Bitcoin currency to regain access, VirRansom can replicate itself like a virus, infecting any and all files on a computer before spreading through a network.

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Threats issued by Sony hackers against 'The Interview' viewers [u]

Wed December 17, 2014 | Posted in: security

[Updated with Sony canceling the film's release] People intrigued by Sony Pictures movie The Interview may reconsider watching it in the cinemas at release, as a message appears to directly threaten its viewers. A posting claimed to be from the Guardians of Peace, the group supposedly behind the hacking of Sony's corporate network, appears to suggest some form of major incident will take place at premieres.

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Netflix caching for offline playback 'never going to happen'

Wed December 17, 2014 | Posted in: industry

Netflix will not be allowing its users to cache television shows and movies from the streaming service for later playback, an executive has advised. In an interview, Director of Corporate Communications and Technology Cliff Edwards denied Netflix would offer offline storage of content, categorically stating "It's never going to happen."

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Apple Canada ordered to turn over documents in carrier deal probe

Wed December 17, 2014 | Posted in: iPhone, industry, Apple

The Federal Court of Canada has agreed to order Apple's Canadian division to turn over documents to the Competition Bureau, Reuters reports. Apple has already handed over some requested documents, but may not be handing over as much as the Bureau wants or needs. The Chief Justice for the court, Paul Crampton, is due to sign the order later today.

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BlackBerry Classic ships with 3.5-inch square screen, retro appearance

Wed December 17, 2014 | Posted in: mobile phones

BlackBerry has formally launched a retro-styled smartphone it previously teased. Housed in a casing reminiscent of earlier models, the BlackBerry Classic has a few modern tricks up its sleeve to go with the familiar QWERTY keyboard, including an optical trackpad and a touch-enabled 3.5-inch 720x720-resolution square display.

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Holiday Gift Guide -- gifts for the Apple gadgeteer

Wed December 17, 2014 | Posted in: iPhone, computers, upgrades/storage, accessories, networking, Apple, iPad

It's not too late, but its getting close. In fact its so close, that any helping hand might be welcome to help pick presents for the Apple-centric device lover in your life. Good news! We see every conceivable gadget all year -- use our knowledge to benefit you! This week, Electronista and MacNN have suggestions for the best gift options for the Apple fan in your life.

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